A funny thing happened on the way to becoming a teacher for Carolyn Manard.
One classroom wasn’t going to be enough. And so Manard was drawn into school administration, where she can serve not just the needs of students, but the needs of teachers, parents and the community at large.
“What I love about administration is the impact I can make to the system as a whole,” says Manard.
Now in her 11th year at Boone Community Schools, Manard is principal at Boone Middle School and director of special education for the district. She previously served four years as assistant principal at Boone High School.
A Davenport native, Manard earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa. Graduating mid-term, her first job was not in education, but as director of a facility serving mentally challenged adults.
“I fell in love with the special education population and decided to go back and get my master’s in special education,” she says.
During her first teaching job in special education in Muscatine, an administrator visited her classroom and encouraged her to consider administration. Back to school she went, earning a second master’s in education administration.
She earned her first master’s from Western Illinois University and the second from St. Ambrose University. She is now midway through her doctoral program in education administration from Iowa State University and has earned her superintendent’s endorsement.
As principal at Boone Middle School, Manard tries to build a family atmosphere for everyone in the building.
“I hope that students come to the middle school and feel welcome, feel supported, cared for and feel that they are challenged educationally,” she says. “I want them to feel that we are a family to support them.”
While middle school students are at an age when they are seeking more independence, Manard says parents must actually step up their parenting skills during these years, rather than holding back.
“The most important advice for parents, when they think kids are getting older and don’t need their support as much, that’s not true,” she says. “The older the kids get, the more involved we need those parents to be. Kids need direction, they need guidance, and they need to know the boundaries.”
She encourages parents to call or stop in any time with concerns and questions.
“If something comes home and it doesn’t sound right, please call,” Manard concludes.